Bear's last day in the Los Angeles area...what to do? What to do?
As it turned out, with his windfall winnings for looking so fucking hot in a borrowed toga, Bear was able to swing the 1-day 1-park admission price of $80 to Disneyland! I cannot tell you how excited this made me. I am an annual passholder and love sharing Disneyland - or DLR as I call it - with a good friend. We actually made this decision on Sunday and decided to get up and be at the park when it opened at 8 am.
At 8am when we woke up...lol...we decided to get going so we could make the most of our day. We showered and were out the door rather quickly...or so I thought. Bear needed a snack so we stopped at the local Burger King. I snapped this pic with my cellphone; it's one of my favorite picture of Bear from his whole visit:
By the time we drove to Anaheim, parked the truck, got on the tram, got through security, bought his ticket, and entered the park it was about 10 am. Not bad! And off we went. I'll be honest, we didn't take a lot of pictures but right after entering some girl asked me to take her and her friend's picture (they kept looking at Bear and giggling...I think he made them wet). After doing so, I said to Bear "We need to make sure we get people to do the same for us." Of course he readily agreed.
While walking over toward Tomorrowland,Bear asked if there was a special or favorite restaurant where we could have dinner. I felt so stupid! I immediately pulled out my cellphone and called Disney Dining. We made 4:10 pm dinner reservations at Blue Bayou! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it. The woman on the other end of the line - I wish I remembered her name - was so wonderful and asked if this was a special occasion. I told her it was my friend's first time at Disneyland and she said "Well then you are celebrating something!What's his or her name? (I suspect she can hear a gay man's voice from 50 paces.)" After all was said and done she told me to tell Bear (and she used his name) to have a "magical" day. Poor Bear didn't know what was going on because I was getting all choked up. It really was a special day.
Onward. We decided to go hit Haunted Mansion so we jumped on the Disneyland Express (train) to travel half-way around the park rather than exerting too much energy that early. After we got on, some women of foreign extraction asked us to take their picture. Here's Bear doing just that:
Of course we asked that they return the favor. The first one came out dark; here is a slightly better one:
Here's a practice picture of Bear that I took:
I'm not going to be able to recap the exact order in which we rode the various rides...so I'm going to list them as I remember and include a few pictures. As I mentioned, first up was Haunted Mansion, which we ended up riding again at night so Bear could see it lit up. This is one of my favorite attractions....it's a dark ride! I behaved myself and only kissed Bear once. Maybe twice.
Next up was Splash Mountain where we both got drenched. Bear was impressed when I pulled out Ziploc baggies to hold our wallets and cellphones! I told him I've been on the ride before. The backpack we carried (with light jackets, bottles of water, and sunscreen) got soaked! Here's the official Disney picture:
We then got in line for Winnie-the-Pooh, which replaced the Country Bear Jamboree attraction years ago. I pointed out the Moose, Elk, and Deer heads that remain hidden on the ride as tribute to the former attraction.
We were both feeling peckish and Bear suggested that we eat something light since we were only about 4 hours from our dinner reservation. So we visited the Hungry Bear Restaurant, where we feasted on Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches with Sweet Potato fries. Delicious!
We decided to wander over to Fantasyland and stopped in front of the castle so I could take pictures:
No, in this second picture Bear isn't being a teapot; he was lowering his arm after pointing to something afar off!
Disneyland employs people to walk around with cameras for "photo ops" throughout the park and the Hub (the area in front of the castle) is no different. We asked about the photo pass cards we were given and evidently they would take our pics, scan the card, then we could download pictures from home. So the cute-ish guy took our picture three times, one where they put Tinkerbell in someone's hand. (Bear! You have the card with those photos and I think it expires soon! I want those pictures!)
We proceeded to Fantasyland to ride Peter Pan's Flight, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Snow White's Adventures, Alice in Wonderland. and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. We decided to quickly do the Sleeping Beauty's Castle walk-through which wasn't bad at all! We wandered over to Toon Town to check out Roger Rabbit's Car Toon...we got in line and then there was an announcement that the ride was no longer operating. Oh well!
To be honest, I'm not certain what else we did at this point! I do know that Bear asked what time we had to leave...I could tell he was having a blast (I was too) and wanted to experience as much as possible. So basically we decided to stay until the park closed at midnight.
About this time we probably headed off for dinner, arriving about 4 pm and only had to wait a few minutes for our table. Now, Blue Bayou is the "nice" restaurant within Disneyland, second only to Club 33 which is upstairs and for which a membership is required. It's like fine dining in shorts and t-shirts. Tim, our waiter, took good care of us. We weren't quite at water's edge but the next table over. Perfect. Bear ordered the Crab Cakes and I ordered the Goat-cheese Stuffed Grilled Salmon. We scarfed down the bread Tim brought and our salads before the entrees came. While waiting for the main course, Bear asked "What's that over there?" I said "That's the Pirates of the Caribbean ride." Earlier Bear had said he didn't care if we didn't go on it...now he wanted to! So after dinner we did so. I think we also rode it again later.
Earlier in the day we had obtained a Fastpass for the Indiana Jones Ride and Space Mountain. A Fastpass let's you avoid the regular standby line and "take cuts" of sorts. So we utilized that Fastpass and rode the Indiana Jones thrill ride. I think after that we did the Tiki Room attraction, where the birdies sing.
At one point in the day - and I'm fairly certain it was post-dinner, we wandered through Main Street. Bear wanted a picture of himself in front of the Cinema (where they continuously play six black and white cartoons, including the groundbreaking "Steamboat Willie"). I had to get down on my knees to take these but it was worth it. The first is the best; someone walked into the shot in the second.
As I struggled to get my fat ass up off the pavement, a cast member (a bearish John) offered to take our picture in front of the Cinema poster. I think John thought Bear was cute because he snapped two pictures:
I believe we headed over and used our Space Mountain Fastpass (we still had to wait an incredibly long time) and we continued to talk about various topics, both Disney and non-Disney related. Space Mountain is one of my favorite rides. We were lucky enough to get in the front row:
Sometime between 8:30 - 9 pm we decided to stake out our spot to watch the fireworks, which is always spectacular. We decided to watch them from a spot on Main Street; we had gotten snacks and sat on the pavement with all the other people. Finally it was time! The announcer begins "Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Disneyland Resort is proud to present the fireworks spectacular - Magical!" The lights go low, then out, as the music starts....it started with "Second Star to the Right" from Peter Pan...and there's the famous single star shooting over the castle. The crowd applauds and screams its approval. We got to see Tinkerbell and Dumbo fly over the castle. The fireworks were shot off to various Disney songs from various classic movies such as Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, and others.
Now here's a little something that I need to share. For me, watching the Disneyland fireworks show is always an emotional experience and I like to hold someone in my arms while watching them. Or at least hold hands. Earlier in the evening while trying to get through the crowds I took his hand in mine; he dropped it and apologized because he's just not as comfortable as I am. I understand that totally; I once was like that until a big bear of a man kissed me while standing in the middle of Main Street. But I digress. When the fireworks started I hesitated, then took the chance to wrap my arms around his chest and lay my chin on his shoulder. He laid his arms over mine and I knew it was okay. So that's how we watched the fireworks...which were truly magical. When they were over, Bear turned around and, crying, said "It was beautiful!" We stood there hugging and crying into each other's shoulders for at least two minutes which, in Disney time, is forever. I was so happy that he enjoyed them and was as moved as me.
Here from YouTube is the entire show...it's not the best but you'll be able to experience what we did. And keep an eye out for Dumbo!
After the fireworks we rode Astro Orbitors, which are rockets:
The silly Bear got all excited when he saw the Michael Jackson glove with LED lights in the fingertips. So he bought it and we tried to get a photo of it lit...but it being nighttime and all it didn't show well. Here's Bear though and you can barely see the lights.
The last ride of the night was Space Mountain again. We had to wait in the standby line and when we got off the ride, it was well after midnight. We then headed out of the park and toward the tram to get the truck. We went straight home so Bear could pack.
To sum the day up, let me say that there's no one else with whom I would want to spend 14 1/2 hours with at Disneyland other than the Bear. I've been hundreds of times; but this particular trip was extraordinary because I got to see the park through a first-timer's eyes. Bear is a phenomenal man who I am proud to call friend. And so the fitting end to this day is to share my absolute favorite picture of the day: the Bear and the Behr on the Peter Pan ride just before we take off toward the second star on the right.
Remember...."Wishing makes your dreams come true."